Did the Andhra Pradesh Government seriously err in seeking the Central Government control over 107 major and medium irrigation projects? Though it may temporarily help in preventing Telangana’s adventurism, will it seriously hurt the AP interests in the long run? Will Andhra Pradesh too end up at the wrong end of the stick? These questions are now being hotly debated in the political circles in both the Telugu states.
Experts, both from the realm of irrigation and administration, feel that AP government’s request for Central control over irrigation projects could end up being counter-productive. In fact, AP CM YS Jagan has shot off a series of letters to the Jal Shakti ministry and even filed a petition to ask for Central control over the irrigation projects. As a result, the Centre has issued a notification taking complete control of the major and medium irrigation projects in the two states. The notification would come into effect from October 14.
While this may temporarily affect the Telangana’s propensity to take up Lift Irrigation projects and deploy its police forces, it will also stop AP from taking up projects on the river. The AP too will end up losing control over the operation and maintenance of the irrigation projects. This applies to both the ongoing projects as well as the existing projects. Secondly, the AP too would be at the mercy of the Centre for the release of water for irrigation and power generation. AP too would end up losing bargaining power over barrages, dams, reservoirs and regulating structures. The complete control will pass into the hands of the Krishna and Godavari river management boards.
Experts also say that both the State governments will have to deposit Rs 200 crore each to the River Management Board to lord over them. What more? They cannot even call for tenders for the ongoing projects. Now, this authority too shall pass into the hands of the Central Government. So, the question is what did Jagan achieve from this?